“At first I thought I would succumb, but I had a strong tower to lean upon, my wife, a woman of innate tact and wisest counsel.”— Colonel Washington A. Roebling, Chief Engineer of the East River Bridge
On October 25, 1869, the cities of New York and Brooklyn embarked on one of the most challenging and fascinating engineering feats in the history of the world — build a bridge. It took 14 years to accomplish, and endured some of the most trying circumstances imaginable including disease, war, corruption, scandal and death.
Halfway through the project, Colonel Washington A. Roebling fell ill with “the bends.” From a brick house in Columbia Heights, armed with nothing more than a pair of field glasses, Roebling followed the final stages of construction. But he had something else with him: a woman.
Despite living in an age that refused women equal recognition in intelligence and worth, Emily Warren Roebling demonstrated a thorough grasp of engineering, mathematics, management, diligence, and leadership. She held all of her husband’s interviews, audited and delivered all of his instructions, kept all of the bridge’s records, answered all of his mail, made daily trips to the bridge to monitor progress, kept the peace among board members, and was her husband’s representative at social functions and public hearings regarding the progress of the bridge.
The gossip grew and the rumors mounted. By the year the bridge was completed, many of the newspapers and major players involved had come to acknowledge that Washington A. Roebling had “lost all control over his mind, and that he was raving mad … and that his wife, without anybody knowing it, had been deciding everything, directing the entire work for months.” (David McCullough, The Great Bridge).
Emily Warren Roebling was the first person to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on May 24, 1883.
To be clear, Emily is not an engineering consulting firm. The Principal Founder of Emily simply admired the story of the Roebling relationship and the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Emily helps start-up and early-stage companies in everything from concept development to strategic planning to scaling and exit plans. Our goal is to drive your ideas and your company through clear planning and organization. We will focus on structure, demand, and accountability while you focus on continuing to be the face of your own company. It’s your bridge to build; Emily is the strong tower for you to lean on.
Our mission is simple: to be the anti-consulting giant. Like our namesake, Emily is focused on being the unseen force behind the engineering of your company. We seek to advise, rather than instruct. Emily believes it is your idea, and we want our clients to achieve their vision. Emily never seeks recognition and prizes collaboration and learning as the heart of our unique consulting approach.
Listen → Assess → Present → Get to work
First and foremost, we listen to your needs. Every company, every founder, and every idea is different. Emily believes you are the expert and you know your vision better than anyone else. Before we do anything, even sign a contract, we want to completely understand what it is you wish to accomplish. Next we assess your market and situation. What needs to be done to bridge from where you are to where you want to be? We then present our assessment to you. We explain the plan and collaborate with you to fully understand and agree upon targets, benchmarks, and deadlines. From there, we roll up our sleeves and get to work.